Journey to Food Freedom
Success stories are always so inspiring, especially when they involve ‘food freedom’. This blog is most of the transcript from the interview with my client Emma. We have been working together for only 6 months. She shares with me exactly what helped her lose two dress sizes without going on a diet, using the scales, or feeling restricted or deprived. I am so excited to share this interview because she has had incredible progress and results. And it is always so encouraging for other people to hear these real-life stories. A huge thanks to Emma for sharing her amazing journey! This transcript is a tad long, but there were so many gold nuggets in there I did not want to leave anything out. If you prefer to listen to this interview live on youtube, I have placed it at the end of this post.
What were your biggest challenges when you came to work with me? What was the reason you reached out?
“I have always been very overweight. I had tried everything, countless times. All the slimming clubs, all the diets and restrictions. Even to the point of having gastric surgery. I had a lap band back 10 years ago, when they use to do them on a semi-regular basis. It broke a couple of times in my stomach and so did not work. And, I realised that I needed to change my mind because all I was trying to do was change my body. And I needed to change my mind first. So I saw you advertised on facebook and came along and met with you.”
“I was a binger. I was what I call ‘addicted to food’. I ate a huge amount of sugar and carbs. Although I kind of knew how to eat properly, my eating had been, I guess, influenced a lot by the likes of Weight Watchers where everything has to be low fat. It was not keeping me full and therefore I would binge. So that was where I was when I met you.”
So, what were your main goals and what did you want to achieve?
“Obviously the physical. I wanted to lose weight and I wanted to get down to slimmer so I could exercise. I have been thin before and just eaten my way back up again. And I realised being thin did not fix my head, cause my head was still screwed up about food no matter what weight I was. So, I had tried everything, but looking at my relationship with food. So I guess that’s what I needed to do. I needed options …because binge eating just, was not going to work.”
“I wanted to get down to a comfortable weight, for myself. I never had numbers on the scales. I just wanted to lose enough weight to be able to ride my horse. That was the big one. I have 2 children, a 1 year old and a 5 year old and wanted to be active with them. So those were my goals. And I guess to have what I use to call a “normal” relationship with food. I looked at my friends….they could just go out and eat and have dessert at a restaurant and did not feel like they had to eat everything on the way home as well. So, I wanted to get a more, what I considered ‘normal’ way of eating”.
So what about now? 6 months down the track what have you achieved?
“I have lost weight. I have not been on the scales. But I have dropped a couple of dress sizes, definitely. My clothes are definitely looser and I have had to buy new clothes which is lovely. I have been infinitely more active. My body, losing even that 10%….. that first bit off makes you feel really good. But, I think the biggest change has been the lack of obsession over food. So previously, food was the first thing I thought about in the morning and last thing at night. It is not like that anymore, for me. I feel more in control with food, and not because I am restricting it, but because I have a plan of where to go when I feel a certain way.”
So what is your plan of where to go?
“Well, I use to, both on my own and with the slimming plans – it is a lot of distraction, or ignore, run a bath or go for a walk. And they work to a point. But when the distraction in the bath and the walking runs out, the feelings were still there. So I guess what I learnt through you, was to feel those feelings. And be more comfortable with the uncomfortable feelings…”
So a lot of emotional management? Learning to manage emotions in other ways other than using food to distract, to comfort to avoid them.
“I used to eat for everything. If i was sad, I ate, if I was happy, I ate . I was a typical comfort eater. And quite a lot of our sessions over the 6 months have not been about food. They have been about my life, my goals, and uncomfortable feelings that I may have . Which kind of surprised me I guess. I thought we would talk about food the whole way, but once we had worked out the food thing, it was so beneficial to talk about the other options ….the other things”.
Absolutely. Because that is what I see over and over again. There is only so much we can talk about food. Once we can trust our body and eat intuitively, there is no need!
“Yes, I remember coming to you saying ‘I am really craving in the afternoons’. Most weight loss (programs) say, well “fight” the craving. And you said, ‘Why don’t you just have a few pieces of dark chocolate?’. I was like, ‘Oh my god!’. So I started that. And it worked, because if I felt like chocolate in the morning, I could just say to myself “Oh it is OK, you can have it in the afternoon at 4pm, no big deal”.
Your goal was to have a normal relationship with food (whatever that is), and you experienced that?
“Yes it is really cool, it is cool to not have to worry so much. To not feel up and down. People say, take all treats out of your house …but I couldn’t because I have a 5 year old who goes to birthday parties and brings back lollies and wants an ice cream. So knowing I can have that stuff in the house is amazing.”
I also find when we are working on a healthy relationship with food, (I call it “Food Freedom”), if we avoid having those foods in the house – to me – that is not freedom.
“No, it is not. Unless you live under a rock, you can not avoid food. It is on all advertising, and I think if you know you can have it, you often don’t feel like it. You always want what you can’t have, but if you just tell yourself you can have it, then have it and get over it. A lot of the guilt was having a lolly or chocolate and then going ‘Oh blow it, I will just have to eat the whole packet‘. And that was so exhausting thinking like that!”
All or nothing, right?
“It is an awful way to live. Exhausting.”
So what is it you would say really helped you when you had the food cravings?
“When I did have big cravings, well I could look at myself and say, well, is it actually something you are hungry for? or is it something I am feeling? OK, can I just feel it and kind of let it go? Just park it? And if I really really wanted something I just had a bit. No big deal, and then I moved on. I think that was the big thing, I MOVED ON.”
What are 3 tangible tools that you applied that really helped you find food freedom?
- “Adding the protein and the fat was a big one. Alot of people add protein and that is just standard. But adding fat was big for me because it adds flavour . And often the unhealthy foods you are craving are for flavour or full of what I consider flavour. I know some people can eat celery and say “mmmm” it is so delicious but that is not me. Adding fat and not being scared of it.”
- “Regular contact with you (Eugenia) was massive because it keeps you on track. But it is different to ‘on track” like weighing yourself. That is different. Weighing yourself ….leads to alot of guilt. So I think being in contact with someone who is not weighing you is a really good thing.”
- “Third thing is to have a plan. I really liked having a plan. I was like you describe, you get in a fast car and you don’t actually know which way you are going. And you are just driving all over the show wasting petrol. I really liked the planning with goals.”
Yes! You need to know where you are going, so you can put the location or ‘goal’ into your GPS! Then you will take actions that are fully aligned with your goal and where you want to get to. Otherwise, you start doing random things and then ending up somewhere and then stop and pause and think, hang on, this is not where I want to be!
“And that was what I was doing, I was kind of wildly going in all directions . I didn’t really have a plan. So it was important to do that. My husband has benefitted, my kids have benefited. We have all benefited from having a plan.”
That is amazing. I like what you are saying. And I liked what you said when I spoke to you on our last call. “It has become not about food , it has become about my life.”
“It has. Us talking has… become about life. Food is not so all encompassing anymore. It is definitely more about life and let’s achieve these things.”
Is there anything else you would like to share?
“No , I don’t think so. You need to have faith and give it a shot. I certainly and defiantly recommend Eugenia. I had literally tried everything, including going under the knife which I do not recommend.”
I really appreciate Emma sharing her success story and journey towards food freedom! I want to emphasise, that for Emma, she lost weight without going on a scale. She lost weight without actually focussing on it. It was a by-product of learning to manage emotions and following a framework where she did not feel deprived or hungry. In fact, she enjoyed her food and was satisfied! She has food freedom, and has stopped obsessing over it. Rather, she is focussing on her life and goals! So proud of you Emma!